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MLB The Show 18: Four Upgrades We're Thrilled About

MLB The Show 18

MLB The Show 18: Four Upgrades We're Thrilled About

One’s relationship with the MLB The Show series is akin to one of a long-lived family pet. It has its mostly up years and its exceptionally rare down years, but throughout the thick and the thin of the calendar, it is always there for you. The Show does not pass judgement or chastise you for your decisions (unless you leave GM Goals on). It simply exists to provide unbridled joy and a constant relief from everyday existence. It even provides a solace wherein its player may brutally pelt an odious rival superstar with painful spheres of cork and rubber, though, conceptually, this opportunity eludes even the most well trained domesticated animals.

MLB The Show 18 has yet to really announce a truly flashy transformative new feature, save for the inclusion of the Montreal Expos as throwback jerseys for the Washington Nationals. However, the under-the-hood improvements almost make it look like a completely different franchise from its 2017 iteration.

An old adage wisely quipped that one cannot “teach an old dog new tricks,” but the 2018 Ramone Russell revision certainly cements that one can provide the aforementioned elder canine with a completely revamped hitting system. With that, join me on a navigation of the most exciting features of MLB The Show 18. 

THE HITTING OVERHAUL

Watch any gameplay video of MLB The Show 17 and pay specific attention to the hitting animations. Some look great while others, not so much. Now, do the same for MLB The Show 18. The difference is astounding. This year’s animations look incredible, and it truly looks like the ball is jumping off of the bat the way it should. It looks to reprieve the in-game performance as well. Perfectly timed fastballs crushed with elite power hitters were reduced to mere choppers or weak pop-ups in 2017 far too often. The new presentation cameras tease additional unpredictability and excitement, but Sony San Diego looks to be in line for considerable praise for how good hitting looks this year. 

A FIXED TAGGING SYSTEM

It seems very, very small and simple, but oh my word. I wish I could count the amount of base stealers that I had pegged with spot-on throws from catchers with elite arms that somehow eluded a tag that should have been a guaranteed out. Or when I played the hop on a single just right and launched an on-time absolute laser from Josh Reddick that had a runner beat by easily more than a step, only to find the catcher foolishly spin around and miss the tag. As with the improved catcher defense, the tagging system might be almost unnoticeable to newcomers, but to long-term fans, it has far too frequently been the accountable difference between a certain win and a crushing defeat. 

BOOSTED LEGENDARY STATS

This is such a slick idea that it eludes me as to why it has yet to be implemented everywhere. For those unaware, Legend cards will have attributes that exceed the traditional 0-100 scale, such as 116 Power for Frank Thomas. There’s not much more to say here outside of how curious we are to see the impact in-game, especially Hardware Jeff Bagwell from his 1994 MVP season, though I anticipate that once again I will be priced out of acquiring him to the paltry tune of 300,000 Stubs.  

OUT-OF-POSITION PENALTIES

My experience with Diamond Dynasty was not unlike the action film genre’s trope of a mobster, bank-robber, et. al returning from what appears to be a comfortable retirement to their ill-advised previous line of work under the foolish guise of “one more job.” However, my pratfalls came from my aggressive swinging in early counts and innate inability to hit Pat Neshek more so than any sort of lawmaking intervention. I swore I would never take part in a card collecting mode, and one Conquest victory later I was frantically refreshing The Show Nation on my iPhone at all times of the day. But one of the key drivers that eventually led to the cooling of the water between Diamond Dynasty and myself was how easily other players could plug random Legends quite literally anywhere on the field (save perhaps catcher) and see negligible if any defensive detractions. The kindred souls at Sony San Diego heard our cries as Ramone Russell quite literally derailed a conversation about the game’s presentation upgrade to illustrate how Ted Williams cannot competently man first base in MLB The Show 18 without dropping an overwhelming amount of routine throws.

MLB The Show 18 sure is shaping up to be the tall glass of water after the hot summer’s day of mowing the lawn. And that’s without Youppi or Olympic Stadium joining the Expos…yet.

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  1. Great read! I’ve been asking for better tags for years so I’m also very excited about them finally addressing this! Also can’t wait to hit!
    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Swing animation upgrades are always welcome. Some of the newer ones in this game look smooth and sexy, but there's still that unsightly left-handed level swing where the bat falls vertically. And of course the disappearing bat swings...
    I welcome the "out of position penalties" changes in MLB 18 under one condition and that is I hope they changed to code to prevent your CPU opponent from subbing in a non-catcher into the catcher position. It does not happen every offline game you play. But it did happen in MLB 17 and it totally spoiled the result of the game when it did happen. They need to either stop doing this, or they need to tone down the performance penalty when it does happen.
    My993C2
    I welcome the "out of position penalties" changes in MLB 18 under one condition and that is I hope they changed to code to prevent your CPU opponent from subbing in a non-catcher into the catcher position. It does not happen every offline game you play. But it did happen in MLB 17 and it totally spoiled the result of the game when it did happen. They need to either stop doing this, or they need to tone down the performance penalty when it does happen.

    I didn't even think of that. Great point.
    Unnecessarily wordy. You don’t need to use “big” words just for the sake of using “big” words.
    The point of a video game article is to get your point across to multiple people with various levels of education. It is not to look smart or articulate.* Try to relate to your audience, it makes for better quality articles.
    I like penalties for out of position, but dropping throws at 1B seems excessive. I'd be fine with them missing most ground balls, bad reaction times, and missing throws in the dirt, but dropping throws that are easily catchable is a little silly.
    Wish they would take off the cap for offline guys as well then. Some of the current players have attributes that could be compared to some of the greats.
    man i had lots of games in 2017 that it happened to me. i really hope that its fixed this year. im talking about non catcher players playing catcher. always dropping the balls
    It may be way overdone but it’s somewhat realistic in that a manager in real life wouldn’t say “eh just put teddy at 1st base so we can get this guy in our lineup” no they think, well Ted has never played first base so we’re gonna leave him in Left. It’s not a matter of IF Ted Williams can play first base. Of course he could catch the ball more than 1 out of 10 times. But it’s more about him never being put in that situation.
    This was done with DD in mind. I once played a guy who had Carlos Beltran at first base.. that shouldn’t happen. There’s a reason why players have positions and secondary positions. But in ‘17, it meant nothing.
    In offline play, it shouldn’t matter unless you’re the guy who would put Carlos Beltran at first base during your franchise game.
    Sent from my iPhone using Operation Sports
    Padgoi
    Unnecessarily wordy. You don’t need to use “big” words just for the sake of using “big” words.The point of a video game article is to get your point across to multiple people with various levels of education. It is not to look smart or articulate.* Try to relate to your audience, it makes for better quality articles.

    Elliott knows that; he said you can't teach an old dog new tricks :lol:
    ?"One’s relationship with the MLB The Show series is akin to one of a long-lived family pet."
    Terrible... just terrible!!
    Great article, but that line, Swiiing, and a miss... LOL?
    "I wish I could count the amount of base stealers that I had pegged with spot-on throws from catchers with elite arms that somehow eluded a tag that should have been a guaranteed out."
    Great example of the struggle between arcade and realism in the game. There are no "guaranteed outs" in MLB. Someone in arcade is upset because he made a perfect throw which should have been a guaranteed out.
    I use manage mode in franchise and the last thing I want is guaranteed outs on every close tag play. The reason I quit playing the show 17 in June was because of inordinately low offense and runs scored in the game.
    If there are indeed guaranteed outs on every close tag play chalk one up for arcade.
    I really hate the out of position thing.
    Make an adjustment period? Sure? Actually have individual position ratings that the player has to build up as he gains experience? Absolutely (i.e. the OOTP approach).
    But just turn him into a blind dude who forgot how to play baseball? Not even.
    I mean, if that's how real baseball worked...how do players move in positions in the real game? How does a player become a utility player? The instant he played "out of position", he'd have a .100 fielding pct.
    I was hoping for a more robust system where players can actually learn positions over time instead of the extremes of "forgetting what a baseball is" and "instant knowing it because I just edited it in".
    Maybe MLB19 I guess.
    KBLover
    I really hate the out of position thing.
    Make an adjustment period? Sure? Actually have individual position ratings that the player has to build up as he gains experience? Absolutely (i.e. the OOTP approach).
    But just turn him into a blind dude who forgot how to play baseball? Not even.
    I mean, if that's how real baseball worked...how do players move in positions in the real game? How does a player become a utility player? The instant he played "out of position", he'd have a .100 fielding pct.
    I was hoping for a more robust system where players can actually learn positions over time instead of the extremes of "forgetting what a baseball is" and "instant knowing it because I just edited it in".
    Maybe MLB19 I guess.
    If it means one competitive e-sports type (who would stab his grandma to win one game online) can't turn the game into a joke, then it's worth it.
    I was hoping for a more robust system where players can actually learn positions over time instead of the extremes of "forgetting what a baseball is" and "instant knowing it because I just edited it in".

    I have found that the only current suitable workaround is to play the first 2 or 3 games as ''forget what a baseball is'', then after that, transition to ''instant knowing by edit''.
    dubcity
    If it means one competitive e-sports type (who would stab his grandma to win one game online) can't turn the game into a joke, then it's worth it.

    But that's the way Ty Cobb would've played video games
    I clicked on the author's name to see what else he has written about and discovered this...
    https://www.operationsports.com/five-classic-features-current-sports-games-missing
    Five Classic Features The Current Sports Games Are Missing
    ByElliott JenkinsPublished on June 1, 2017
    1. Arcade-Style Gameplay
    ......
    Let's recap: The same guy who is advocating for guaranteed outs on tag plays also advocates for arcade style gameplay.
    This is a perfect example of the dilemma faced by developers. I use only manage mode on default sliders and there were problems with the game but one thing they got right was the percentage of time you could successfully steal a base. Infielders were overpowered and balls curved like frisbees but stolen bases were realistic.
    The developers have to make a choice. Do they go for realism or arcade? On a recent rtts stream Nick Livingston explained the new cap on attributes system which is designed to move away from arcade toward realism and many people are now complaining about being unable to make their character 99 in every attribute. I used to submit bug reports about some of the unrealistic things in gameplay but it finally dawned on me these things aren't unintentional bugs. If the new tag system results in guaranteed outs on every close tag play I'll hate it but there are many who will love it. If the new tag system doesn't result in guaranteed outs on every close tag play I'll love it but many will hate it.
    I sympathize with the developers attempting to release a game which will make customers happy when those customers are 180 degrees apart in what they want from the game. Maybe there should be two gameplay modes - arcade and realistic - but that would probably be impossible to program.
    I'm looking forward to the franchise stream to attempt to determine in which direction they have gone with this year's game.
    tessl
    If the new tag system results in guaranteed outs on every close tag play I'll hate it but there are many who will love it. If the new tag system doesn't result in guaranteed outs on every close tag play I'll love it but many will hate it.
    I sympathize with the developers attempting to release a game which will make customers happy when those customers are 180 degrees apart in what they want from the game. Maybe there should be two gameplay modes - arcade and realistic - but that would probably be impossible to program.

    We won't know how much the new fielding, base running and tagging changes in MLB 18 will affect our own game play experiences until we actually get the game in our hands and are playing it. But I am optimistic that it will be a step forward in the right direction for realism especially for MoM gamers like yourself and myself. I can't remember if it first surfaced in MLB 16 or was it only last year in 17, but for sure far too many bases are given up in the game due to too many passed balls and/or balls in the feet of slow reacting catchers. If the new changes results in base runners especially the slower one not even attempting to take the extra base then this is good. Plus if I am not mistaken during the DEV streams where they were showing the changes, not every throw and tag was resulting in an out.
    Without these changes in MLB 18 I definitely would have skipped the game this year. But once I watched the DEV stream on the topic I decided to take the risk and preordered the game via my PSN account. :y220a:
    nemesis04
    Seems like he is trying to label him as an arcade type player.

    Interesting. I read it as (the author's article he posted), not taking away from The Show and the like (as in not forcing them to change to arcade), but there should be other additional arcade styled licensed games again along side the Sim games.
    That does not seem too unreasonable as a gamer. Sadly, those days are long gone thanks to exclusivity deals that alienated the market so much, that it is starting to feel like a niche one.
    Edit: After reading what the person I quoted elaborated on, the game does have Retro Mode still, correct?
    KBLover
    I really hate the out of position thing.
    Make an adjustment period? Sure? Actually have individual position ratings that the player has to build up as he gains experience? Absolutely (i.e. the OOTP approach).
    But just turn him into a blind dude who forgot how to play baseball? Not even.
    I mean, if that's how real baseball worked...how do players move in positions in the real game? How does a player become a utility player? The instant he played "out of position", he'd have a .100 fielding pct.
    I was hoping for a more robust system where players can actually learn positions over time instead of the extremes of "forgetting what a baseball is" and "instant knowing it because I just edited it in".
    Maybe MLB19 I guess.

    The Show's fielding ratings feel broad stroke in nature. It's either on or off and you do not feel the nuances all the positions have to give the game diversity. Each position requires a different skill set and each of those skills really need to be rated in order to emulate the player's ability properly. There also needs to be some type of learning mechanism built into fielding so players can be groomed to play other positions. I also think there should be some type of situational awareness rating for how well the player knows the position which would increase the more he plays the position on a regular basis.
    Curious to see if this years fielding will feel different from player to player with the adjustments and not just the dumbing down effects.
    EnigmaNemesis
    Interesting. I read it as (the author's article he posted), not taking away from The Show and the like (as in not forcing them to change to arcade), but there should be other additional arcade styled licensed games again along side the Sim games.
    That does not seem too unreasonable as a gamer. Sadly, those days are long gone thanks to exclusivity deals that alienated the market so much, that it is starting to feel like a niche one.
    Edit: After reading what the person I quoted elaborated on, the game does have Retro Mode still, correct?

    Retro Mode is still in, correct.
    nemesis04
    The Show's fielding ratings feel broad stroke in nature. It's either on or off and you do not feel the nuances all the positions have to give the game diversity. Each position requires a different skill set and each of those skills really need to be rated in order to emulate the player's ability properly. There also needs to be some type of learning mechanism built into fielding so players can be groomed to play other positions. I also think there should be some type of situational awareness rating for how well the player knows the position which would increase the more he plays the position on a regular basis.
    Curious to see if this years fielding will feel different from player to player with the adjustments and not just the dumbing down effects.

    Don't know if you've ever played any of the Baseball Mogul games, but they had an excellent and simple system for fielding in different positions, where players had a rating on all the different positions and if you wanted you could move their primary position and the ratings would adjust over time. I'd love to see something like that in franchise mode, almost as much as something similar to switch pitchers between starters and relievers
    Does anyone think they went too simplistic with the bunting system last year? The fact that literally you cannot bunt with a big man is just wrong. At least make it a 10% chance that Sandoval or Puig actually lays down a solid bunt. It's either 0% or 100%. Correct me if I am wrong
    EnigmaNemesis
    So, where are you going with this?

    Just quoting the original author who was upset because his catcher made a good throw and the runner was safe - and pointing out a previous article in which he advocates for more arcade style gameplay. Don't take my word for it. Click on the author's name and you can see the article for yourself.
    By the way, base stealers don't steal on the catcher. They steal on the pitcher. Lou Brock didn't care who the catcher was. If he got a good jump the throw didn't matter. Therefore the op was incorrect to assert his catcher's throw would result in a guaranteed out. Of course that assumes realism. In arcade mode it might be the case, I don't know.
    tessl
    Just quoting the original author who was upset because his catcher made a good throw and the runner was safe - and pointing out a previous article in which he advocates for more arcade style gameplay. Don't take my word for it. Click on the author's name and you can see the article for yourself.
    By the way, base stealers don't steal on the catcher. They steal on the pitcher. Lou Brock didn't care who the catcher was. If he got a good jump the throw didn't matter. Therefore the op was incorrect to assert his catcher's throw would result in a guaranteed out. Of course that assumes realism. In arcade mode it might be the case, I don't know.

    I think what he's getting at is if his catcher makes a throw and the throw beats the runner, the runner should be out. Not just that because his catcher is good the runner should be out. That doesn't make the assertion any more correct because we know that fielders miss tags due to unique slides.
    My concern is that the tag system will be too good. The slides are all exactly the same according to the videos, with the exception of the headfirst slide into the plate. The slides were already an issue in the past because the animations are slow and there's really no attempt to avoid a tag. Even the hook slide is limited in its effectiveness. If fielders are much better at tagging now, I'm afraid unless the runner is already at the bag by the time the throw gets there, they will be out.
    So, tessl, I agree with your concern. Just disagree with your assessment of the writer's point.
    tessl
    Just quoting the original author who was upset because his catcher made a good throw and the runner was safe - and pointing out a previous article in which he advocates for more arcade style gameplay. Don't take my word for it. Click on the author's name and you can see the article for yourself.
    By the way, base stealers don't steal on the catcher. They steal on the pitcher. Lou Brock didn't care who the catcher was. If he got a good jump the throw didn't matter. Therefore the op was incorrect to assert his catcher's throw would result in a guaranteed out. Of course that assumes realism. In arcade mode it might be the case, I don't know.
    I see what you're saying. I was taking it as, that he meant there needed to be more arcade style games, but advocating for The Show to be more arcade is just silly, there is an arcade mode in there already called Retro Mode.
    It's a Sim game. And that is why the majority of us enjoy it.
    Sent from Tatooine using Tapatalk
    If these are the 4 upgrades that people are most excited about I think I'm going to pass on this year's game. Seems like I've been hearing about overhauls to batted balls every release since the move to PS4
    Jr.
    I think what he's getting at is if his catcher makes a throw and the throw beats the runner, the runner should be out. Not just that because his catcher is good the runner should be out. That doesn't make the assertion any more correct because we know that fielders miss tags due to unique slides.
    My concern is that the tag system will be too good. The slides are all exactly the same according to the videos, with the exception of the headfirst slide into the plate. The slides were already an issue in the past because the animations are slow and there's really no attempt to avoid a tag. Even the hook slide is limited in its effectiveness. If fielders are much better at tagging now, I'm afraid unless the runner is already at the bag by the time the throw gets there, they will be out.
    So, tessl, I agree with your concern. Just disagree with your assessment of the writer's point.

    Perhaps he should have made his point more clearly then because he said he made a good throw and it should have been a "guaranteed out". His words, not mine. Runners steal all the time on good throws. Bench was probably the best ever and he only threw out around 40% of runners.
    We share the same concern about the new tag system. I quit playing the show 17 in June. If you check my post history on this forum you will see that is also the time I quit posting here. A few weeks ago I decided to play a couple games in manage mode - default sliders. In 2 games I lost 4 runners at home plate. The example they showed of the new tag system in the first stream was a runner in the show 17 who was safe at the plate and on the exact same play that runner is now out at the plate thanks to the new tag system. Guaranteed out?
    It's their game and they can do whatever they want but the last thing I want is more arcade gameplay. I'll watch the franchise stream. Best case scenario we get a long look at gameplay.
    nemesis04
    The Show's fielding ratings feel broad stroke in nature. It's either on or off and you do not feel the nuances all the positions have to give the game diversity. Each position requires a different skill set and each of those skills really need to be rated in order to emulate the player's ability properly. There also needs to be some type of learning mechanism built into fielding so players can be groomed to play other positions. I also think there should be some type of situational awareness rating for how well the player knows the position which would increase the more he plays the position on a regular basis.
    Curious to see if this years fielding will feel different from player to player with the adjustments and not just the dumbing down effects.

    Agreed. I think if they adopted the OOTP approach, even if it's under the hood and you had to feel it out through play/eye test, it would add in the learning curve/experience as well as the nuance of positional skill set.
    After all, OOTP has the same "general skills" but they apply to the positions differently in forming the position rating (emulating the nuance/positional differences) and the experience factor.
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